Monday, October 31, 2005

Our Purpose [1]

Dipping into the mail bag, we find that an important comment may have gone unrecognized. On Friday, September 16, Beth asked: "do you mean 'anecdote,' or do you really believe a blog should in some way neutralize or counteract the boredom and meaninglessness in the lives of its readers? In any case [...] you demonstrated [that] perfectly in your Christmas list. Good list, by the way."

At that time, we replied something like this: "Indeed. i meant to say 'anecdote.' that particular post was already running a bit past deadline, so i apparently didn't have the opportunity to fully edit its content. we at the 17 point scale take grammar quite seriously, so we welcome any and all input. so thanks again for your sharp eye. however, despite your fine catch, you may note that we have left the original content unaltered. after all, as you nearly suggest, the error may be more telling than its intended meaning. consider our freudian slip an unheralded & unconventional unveiling of our mission statement. the 17 point scale endeavors to step into the vast sea of blogs as an antidote to the ennui of our postmodern world."

the first essence [1]

Unless I'm railroaded onto the topic of linguistics (and how they ruined the year 2003) or poetry, I have an overwhelmingly positive view of my alma mater. Let me explain those poetic misgivings. Seattle Pacific University is quite keen on encouraging students to pursue their vocation (in contrast to occupation). They see a student's time on campus as a four year spirit quest, but instead of wandering into the forest to find one's power-animal, its more of an academically christian pursuit. in any case, while on this path to vocational enlightenment, i was astonished to discover that my future lay in poetry. i was a poet laureate in waiting, tennyson with the touch of a smile: andrew, lord david. however (cue angry crashing chords), no sooner did i discover my poetic supremacy then my poetic dreams were dashed by the university's yearly arts journal. You see, the myopic editorial staff of Second Essence refused to publish some of my finest work. Thus, I was forced to pursue a life of Crime and Delinquency (or more accurately and long-windedly put: attend the class, acquire a sociology minor, and spend the next three years working with schizophrenics at a federal hospital). To spite this otherwise fine institution and to finally give my poems their due, I will periodically post my jilted verse here on the 17 point scale. These poems come from the unpublished Poems Written in Brady's UCORE Notes at 3AMish. It is unavailable in stores, but please feel free to contact me if you are interested in signed copies of any of the poems.

Here is the third poem from this anthology:

White, frosted flakes
Raise high, swiftly

(an interesting anecdote: this poem so moved me that i later took to using the term 'goose' as a curse word of sorts. i wish you the same touching experience)

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Alaska pics 1

I'd love to hear feedback on any of these pictures or opinions on which, if any, to print & frame. pictures with an '*' are currently under printing consideration.




*1. Andrew David, 'Pensively Beth' Ninilchik -- i think this might have been nice with a little more colour and contrast
*2. Andrew David 'Mt. Redoubt' Nilnilchik -- for some reason mt. redoubt didn't live up to its name in this pic. if it were bigger and brighter, it would offer more contrast to the flowers. as is, its too...backgroundy
3. Andrew David 'Nilnilchik sign' Nilnilchik -- not sure why i decided to post this one. i think i just like signs.
4. Andrew David, 'Potholey Road' Homer -- i like the rust in this picture, but not sure how to accentuate its coolness. oh, well. we actually had to turn back on this road because the potholes and 70% grade would have capsized our rigs.
*5. Andrew David 'Spit' Homer -- perhaps the colours are too washed out here...? i was hoping to let Homer speak for herself.
*6. Andrew David 'Homer berries' Homer -- as you can perhaps tell, i'm not great at night photography (this is at 11:3o or so). i was hoping that the berries would be a little bit more like my shirt in picture #8 -- bright red
7. Andrew David, 'Searching' Ninilchik -- i like this one of beth and the ruffles eating stranger.
8. beth the s.o. 'Run aground' Nilnilchik -- about 60 years ago, when they first built this boat, they apparently had sky-coloured paint.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Andrew David 'Priest Cleaners' Concord, Mass. 2005

Perhaps I'm a bit of a rogue Protestant. For example, in the winter of 2004 I knew nothing of blogs. Well, nothing except that they played some vague role in the dissemination of political news. In any case, while my roommates lost fake money on online poker, I lurked at an online catholic apologetics discussion site ( In fact, while there I contributed to a thread on inter-faith marriage and started a thread inquiring about the catholic perspective of protestants. I thought the responses were quite interesting: Then, bursting with my new found knowledge, I invaded my family camp-out to play the devil's advocate for Catholic theology. Gosh, I'm even dating a 'fallen' catholic. Still, I find this picture particularly relevant, especially in light of the recent sex scandals and the clergy's occasionaly dark history. Yep, I really think that the Catholic priesthood may need some cleaning help.

Monday, October 24, 2005

the decision
I think I've been so focused on GRE minutia that I neglected to consider thebigger picture -- like what programs I would most enjoy, how I might fare in anacademic environment that sounds a bit cutthroat (rather than the cuddliness ofSPU), and whether I'm prepared for the dismal job prospects that I'd face afteryears of tough study (its supposably quite horrible; i have no stats, but various websites report that 1/20 English PhDs can find work as college professors -- that's scary!). Moreover, outside of work, I'm not much good at juggling bricks; that is, my 'to do' list is so long and unwieldy that I'm afraid I might crack under its weight (choose schools, craft personal statements, conjure up an amazing writing sample [that's thick with post-modern literary criticism, something i don't much understand], study for the literature GRE, etc, etc, etc).

Soooo...I'm going to spend the next year sorting this out and pursuing my othervocational interest: editing. After all, I have 2+ years of technical editingexperience, and, in contrast to English professors, the employment rate foreditors is expected to parallel the national employment average rather than sit stagnantly below it (per the US Department of Labor). If I can find (and enjoy) a job working for a publishing company or an interesting magazine of some sort, perhaps I'll forego graduate school.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

a. the dilemma (of how to get from a to z, that is, of what to do in life and of how to pare that vocation down to the simplest possible terms)

c. andrew likes to write in books.

d. he likes to analyze what he reads in terms of content. he especially likes works with brooding protagonists or characters that are forced to confront the crazy wildness within. if books have a theological bent (rather than religious bent), andrew likes that too.

e. he likes to analyze how authors approach the craft of writing. he especially likes books that approach their subject matter with unobtrusive personal metaphors. in this sense, he likes writing that is poetic. if books swap poetry for the colloquial voice of a particular time & place (like say 'the poisonwood bible,' 'the catcher in the rye,' or anything by william faulkner), andrew thinks it brazen and lame. perhaps this makes him a bit of an odd language snob.

f. in a related fashion, andrew likes to edit. he likes to tear apart sentences, paragraphs, and manuscripts. perhaps this curious delight represents an attempt by andrew to press his aesthetic ideals on others. in any case, andrew thinks that he has a good ear for language. plus, he likes grammar.

g. andrew may like to write. he's not sure. but once its written, he certainly likes to edit it.

h. andrew likes to learn. traditionally, he has both enjoyed school and done very well.

j. andrew could see himself enjoying the following careers: teacher and editor.

k. as a teacher, andrew would enjoy helping students illuminate life-changing texts. however, he's not entirely confident that he would measure up to the standards of insight required of collegiate professors. he wonders whether he could pull enough thoughtful content from a work to spark discussion or merit classroom respect. moreoever, andrew believes that books are important, but feels like a bit of a stoic when it comes to his response to books. like other 'deep' things in his life, andrew sometimes feels a static admiration for the sublime meaningfulness of a passage but never experiences the actual passionate response. again, andrew questions whether this might be an obstacle for enlightening students.

l. perhaps andrew's favorite part of teaching might be the opportunity to impact student writing. during his time at the spu writing center and in freelance editing,andrew encountered a lot of potentially good writing that was just plain crappy. with a tweeking, these writers could be fine. andrew thinks he would enjoy editing student papers and working with students to improve.

m. but andrew would not like playing the role of baby-sitter. he might have difficulty contending with students that lack interest in his class.

n. if andrew wound up teaching at a high school, he would want a piano in his classroom.

o. as an editor, andrew wouldn't have to put up with apathetic students. on the otherhand, he might also miss the hands-on nature of the editing that he has hitherto experienced. this could be difficult. moreover, it might take a bit of work before he reached a position where he was editing material that he found personally significant. and once he reached a position where he was editing material he really enjoyed, would he get bored of it?

q. to be a teacher, andrew would need to pursue a masters or phd (or both).

r. why andrew is worried about this:

s. so, we see that the road to a degree (800 pgs of reading a week) and job prospects for wanna-be english profs are tough.

t. andrew is also worried by the competively esoteric nature of grad school. this may be because he feels unprepared for the intense submersion into critical theory that may await him. andrew once claimed that there are no geniuses. while this claim was 90% silliness, he actually had a tablespoon or two of belief invested in it. now, he is surprised to find himself INTIMIDATED by the cerebral giants that lay in the shadows of grad school.

u. ack! andrew feels so stinkin rushed. if he pursues his initial plan of fall 2006 enrollment, he would have to study for the lit gre (where he needs a kick-butt score in order to overcome his less-than-amazing ordinary gre score), decide on schools and programs (that is, find attractive programs that can be reasonably expected to say 'come on over drew'), prepare forms for professor recommendations, find an insightful writing sample that is drenched in literary theory, prepare applications, and compose a heart-wrenching personal statement -- all in about a month!!!

w. finish work at the va in august 2006

x. during the intervening months thoroughly explore my employment options in the editing field. sign on with a publishing company or speciality journal. if nothing else, volunteer for beth's tutoring program.

y. and spend the next 12 months studying for the gres, perfecting a personal statement, scouring grad school programs for that perfect match, and then applying early.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

pics that aren't that great but apparently conjured memories for beth...

Andrew David 'Some of us were Present on that Day' Portland

see later updated post of this picture

Andrew David 'None of us were Present that Day' Portland

Andrew David 'A bit of History without a Tripod' Boston.

*Andrew David 'Sugary Pretzel Hands' Seattle (Zoo).

Monday, October 17, 2005

GRE today at 3pm

*Photographer Unknown 'Beth and Andrew - Intrepid Test Takers' Portland.

Friday, October 14, 2005

an apology

These pictures make me think of Christmas.
So, I'd like to apologize for posting Christmas pictures in October.

Now I'd like to apologize for what comes next: yet another apology. while i'm sorry that these pictures really having nothing to do with my post (or vice-a-versa), what comes next is a bit more convoluted. consider it living art. that is, i'm posting something that hasn't yet been written. with any luck, i'll return to it in a few days/weeks/months once i'm done studying. or i'll just let it rest here putrifying. yummm...

studying for the gre. for grad school. i'm a bit of an anomolie. don't particularly love any books or genre. aside: and this even-keeledness seems to spill over into pretty much everything. i don't like dirty dishes, stinky toilets, or .... but i'm content to let them be. maybe that's laziness. maybe i don't get excited mucy, but i'm a sucker for writing that tries to capture sideways glances back at itself. confessional poets. so when i say i'm a sucker, i don't mean i spend hours and hours fawning over dave eggers' confessional style -- and he does this on two levels: that of the plot and that of the manuscript itself or dusty's madman;s asides. but i certainly appreciate them. imagine you're driving along on your motorbike. so, if i were the literary craftsmen that i ought to be, i would have determined a tacit way of doing this. you would have got the message without me saying a specific word. yet, i would be invisibly self conscious. ah, what could have been. but this is an apology. and no matter what english teachers tell you, apologies need to be spoken, let into the light. so here's my list of things that i, the 17 opint scale ... apology.

1,while i'm addicted enough to endeavor to write daily, it just won't happen. and what i will write will be first draft quality. after all, its a blog, not a manuscript for ... and it will probably contain a lot of this. self-indulgent excuses. i'll try and make this an all encompassing apology however. fruthermore, i apparently have a tough time finishing serial style blogs. oh well.

2a i apologize if i ask you to read my blog and put you in the uncomfortable position of not saying 'you suck'
2b i apologize to people like stvs who are cursed with the inability to find diamonds in the literay rough (that is, find treasure in the crap that your friends write). i actually think that this is a lot of people. we don't sit around and pass stories around the campfire anymore, and i think we've lost the ability to tell stories and listen to stories. but actually, i'll recind that apology, because i doubt you would bother to wade through this far if this is you. and despite the fact that this is a blog (and therefore lacks the necessity of logic) and perhaps a bit wordy at times (bear with me, im studying forthe gre) i think i might say somethings particualry well at times. so hah.

3. most importantly, i apologize that these posts are neither diary entries of exciting events in my life nor carefully constructed papers on this or that. instead, they are first draft thoughts only...'

4 i apologize if i repeat myself.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

a secret intermission [cont. 2]

okay, back to that sunset. believe it or not, we recently received an email from a reader with a bit of expertise in this field:

"i really like your sunset picture. did you shoot that on automatic (exposure)? Was that on your hike with Steve? Hope you feel better!"

okay, anyone with commen sense will wonder, 'how does a low budget blog like the 17 point scale have access to anyone with photography clout?' therefore, after making a thorough search of our archives, we uncovered the following information to support his credibilty (please pardon the picture; there is something shameful in using such a poor picture in a series of posts regarding photography. however, after clicking on the photo, you will note our informant's camera laying dormant beside him on the table. this is somehow relevant):

Name: confidential
Past Experience: Falcon Photographer
Past Experience Caveat: the pictures on that link fail to illustrate the actual level of his work. they're just the best i could google in five minutes.
Training: star-pupil of the Director of Photography at World Vision
Training Caveat: photography aside, they deserve your money:

In any case, the 17 point scale would like to issue the following statement in response to his query:

"I feel quite a bit better, maybe 91%. The photograph was indeed shot using automatic (exposure). It was shot in July of 2005 on the Kenai Peninsula. But there's something you should know about that photo..."

(if these cliffhangers are vexing, i'm sorry -- more on apologies later -- it just takes too long to write anything substantial. perhaps i should save info up and post in big fat bursts)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

on blogging and boring essays

As the GRE approaches, I will periodically post my embarrassing attempts at timed essays. While I really want you to read my blog --

this is an odd desire that i don't quite understand. in fact, i'm a bit surprised that i even wound up with a blog. unlike some bloggers, i don't particularly like recounting the adventures (ie minutia) of my week. nor is my life so topsy-truvy that i crave a daily flurry of keystrokes to keep me sane (ie i'm not a cathartiholic). and i certainly have no pet issues on which to collect links, provide counsel, or solicit opinions (though i appear to like talking about aesthetics and grammar). in fact, the lack of a passionate message has been the bane of my writing career (ie lack thereof). for example, when queried, 'why don't you consider becoming a writer,' i could respond 'and who would pay me to write? would you pay me to write? no. so how would i survive?' but being the consumate nice guy, i generally choose something a little less vindictive (and more true) like: 'because i don't have anything to say. i (am beginning to) understand the mechanics of writing, but i have no particular passion. i could write a short story, but there'd be no 'deep' underlieing point.' soooo. i tend to lack the imaginative capacity for the subtle nuances that make literature meaningful. dar. and that, strange as it may seem, is perhaps why blogging appeals to me. i can say a bunch of little things with no expectation of a higher purpose.

-- i don't recommend reading these unless you are very, very, very bored and need a pick-me-up to feel better about your own writing. to underscore the fact that i don't recommend reading these essays, they shall be in the tiniest of print.

so why post them at all? i don't know. i think because today i thought it would be quicker to post someting that i'd already written than waste study time blogging (i was wrong). and perhaps someone will read an essay and think 'wow, that gre topic is intriguing. i should take the gre!' or better yet 'how interesting, i should share my opinion on this topic...'



The perceived chasm between intellectuals and the real, more practical world of everyday life has been the subject of controversy for generations. Naysayers of collegiate education have frequently scoffed at academicians in their ivory towers, insisting that the literati should gain experience in the public workplace before instructing students. However, while this reasoning may seem attractive, it possesses a number of serious flaws.

Perhaps the most prohibitive factor for this philosophy is its impracticality. If universities were to adopt this philosophy, faculty would have to settle a number of challenging questions about how much 'real world' experience would be necessary -- a week, a month, a year, etc, etc. Once this subjective issue was decided, collegiate educators would then need liasons to help arrange temporary positions in the outside community. In addition to being a potentially frustrating experience for the professors, this process would also be a decidedly inconvenient proposition for the businesses.

Another crucial difficutly in assigning professors to 'real world' positions is the problem of determining what occupations might be most relevant. For many humanities subjects there is no direct correlation between subject matter and 'real worldl' positions. For example, literature and philosophy professors tend to teach valuable material that discusses the human condition but provides no concrete link to real world positions. These professors might be at loss for finding 'real world' training that matches their teaching interests.

Another important reason for dismissing this theory is that it suggests a false premise: that 'real world' experience will make better teachers. On the contrary, most professors learn the 'nuts and bolts' to their trade in academic settings. While in University, they are taught both material and the best methods of relaying that material. Hands-on, classroom experience then serves to augment these skills. Forced work in the 'real world' could dull these skills and lessen professors' effectiveness. Moreover, if a professor's passion is for teaching, it seems unwise to force them to work in other settings. This could persuade potential professors from pursuing their teaching dream.

Ultimately, professors belong in the classroom. Manditory 'real world' experience for college faculties would be impractical. In fact, many programs lack a real world corrolary for their professors. Therefore, the best use of their time and talents is teaching students, not learning life lessons in the 'real world.'